The Crag

The first diagram shows the Crag (which lies at the heart of the Grove) as it might appear to someone standing in the clearing below the Ancestor House.

This was my original conception derived from the second diagram. As it came to be used in The Standing Dead, the scale should be perhaps a little larger… but not much. Note the contrast between the modest scale of the Koppie with the monumental excesses of Osrakum. It should also be noted that I decided to move the cistern from where it is shown on the diagrams. As for the circular structure on the diagram, that has written around its edge “area needed to accommodate Tribe as refugees”, I’m afraid I can’t now remember what that is about…

Steps cut into the rock rise up to the Ancestor House and then rise further to the summit. It is here, upon funerary trestles, that the Ochre expose their male dead for sky burial.

Each koppie has an Ancestor House which is built somewhere up its crags (so that it is neither in the territory of the Earth Mother nor of the Sky Father). This chamber is completely lined with a mosaic of the skeletal remains of a tribes’ dead. The floor is covered with the pelvic bones and the lower walls with the skulls of dead women. The ceiling is covered with the arm and leg bones and the upper walls by the skulls of dead men. Between them is a freize composed entirely of the skulls of children.

The bones that line it produce a screen that intensifies an Ancestor House’ connection with earth and sky. Women walk barefoot on this but have their heads covered. Men walk shod until they reach their chairs. These are built on a base of children’s skulls and the seat is of men’s bones which reaches up to touch the ceiling by means of a long back.